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On Getting Along by Howard Zinn

"Remember, that those who have power and who seem invulnerable are in fact quite vulnerable.."
Of Zinn's 7 tips, #5 is my favorite!


Fifth: Remember, that those who have power, and who seem invulnerable
are in fact quite vulnerable, that their power depends on the obedience
of others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin
defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile.
Generals become powerless when their soldiers refuse to fight,
industrialists become powerless when their workers leave their jobs or
occupy the factories.


On Getting Along
By Howard Zinn
>
You ask how I manage to stay involved and remain seemingly happy and
adjusted to this awful world where the efforts of caring people pale in
comparison to those who have power?
>
It's easy. First, don't let "those who have power" intimidate you. No
matter how much power they have they cannot prevent you from living
your
life, speaking your mind, thinking independently, having relationships
with
people as you like. (Read Emma Goldman's autobiography "Living My Life".
Harassed, even imprisoned by authority, she insisted on living her life,
speaking out, however she felt like.)
>
Second, find people to be with who have your values, your commitments,
but
who also have a sense of humor. That combination is a necessity!
>
Third (notice how precise is my advice that I can confidently number it,
the way scientist number things), understand that the major media will
not
tell you of all the acts of resistance taking place every day in the
society, the strikes, the protests, the individual acts of courage in
the
face of authority. Look around (and you will certainly find it) for the
evidence of these unreported acts. And for the little you find,
extrapolate
from that and assume there must be a thousand times as much as what
you've
found.
>
Fourth: Note that throughout history people have felt powerless before
authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by
organizing,
acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to change the
world
around them, even if a little. That is the history of the labor
movement,
of
the women's movement, of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the disabled
persons' movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the movement of Black
people in the South.
>
Fifth: Remember, that those who have power, and who seem invulnerable
are
in fact quite vulnerable, that their power depends on the obedience of
others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin
defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile.
Generals become powerless when their soldiers refuse to fight,
industrialists become powerless when their workers leave their jobs or
occupy the factories.
>
Sixth: When we forget the fragility of that power in the top we become
astounded when it crumbles in the face of rebellion. We have had many
such
surprises in our time, both in the United States and in other countries.
>
Seventh: Don't look for a moment of total triumph. See it as an ongoing
struggle, with victories and defeats, but in the long run the
consciousness
of people growing. So you need patience, persistence, and need to
understand that even when you don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment
in
the fact that you have been involved, with other good people, in
something
worthwhile.
>
Okay, seven pieces of profound advice should be enough.
>
Howard Zinn
>
>

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